One person who won’t likely be calling Butler anytime soon is Bulls general manager Gar Forman. After the trade last week, Forman said on two occasions that Butler had been kept informed of what was going on leading up to it and that he never lied to Butler or his representatives.
However, a source close to the situation told the Sun-Times on Thursday that Forman’s version of events doesn’t match what happened in the days — and even the minutes — leading up to the draft-night deal. “[Forman] knows what he said,” the source said. “That’s just who he is. Travelle [Gaines] hit it on the head.”
Reached for comment Thursday, Forman said in a text message, “Absolutely false! Never talked with Jimmy again after John [Paxson] and I had our meeting with him several weeks prior to the draft.” Given the chance Thursday to comment, Butler took the high road. “I already said how much love I have for the city of Chicago,” he said. “I don’t have anything to say about anybody in that organization, in that city. They took a chance on a kid from Tomball, [Texas], who didn’t know where he belonged. But now this new chapter, this new era, I’m looking forward to it.”
“What we’ve done tonight is set a direction,” said John Paxson, Bulls vice president of basketball operations. “We’ve gone through the past where we’d make the playoffs but not at a level we wanted to. In this league, success is not determined that way. So we’ve decided to make the change and rebuild this roster. And we’re going to do it through young players we believe can play a system that [coach] Fred [Hoiberg] is comfortable with. And we’re going to be disciplined and patient as we make decisions along the way.”
The Chicago Bulls traded Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves on the day of the NBA Draft. After the trade was announced, Butler’s trainer Travelle Gaines sent out a strongly worded tweet ripping the Bulls.
KC Johnson: Pax on Butler: "Always difficult to trade a player and person that has meant a lot to organization and we really watched grow as a player."
The Minnesota Timberwolves acquired forward Jimmy Butler and the draft rights to center Justin Patton, the No. 16 selection in this year’s draft from the Chicago Bulls, in exchange for guards Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn and the draft rights to forward Lauri Markkanen, the No. 7 selection in this year’s draft.
Alex Kennedy: Chicago's decision to deal Jimmy Butler will impact Dwyane Wade's decision regarding his player option, league sources confirm. No surprise.
Jon Krawczynski: I can also report Jimmy Butler will have no issues leaving Chicago and coming to Minnesota. Loves Thibs. Will welcome move.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Chicago is finalizing a deal to send Jimmy Butler to Minnesota for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and No. 7 pick, league source says.
KC Johnson: The Bulls have agreed in principle to deal Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves, per source.
Marc Stein: The Wolves are close to acquiring Jimmy Butler from Chicago, according to league sources
KC Johnson: The Bulls are getting Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the 7th pick, per sources. Bulls keep 16th pick.
Sean Highkin: Woj on @TheVertical broadcast: Bulls “seriously engaged” with Timberwolves on Jimmy Butler talks. LaVine, Dunn, picks involved.
KC Johnson: Butler offers underwhelming to this point, per sources. Bulls, as has been reported all week, are aligned to make deal if right one arrives.
Sean Deveney: Around the league, execs say if Jimmy Butler goes anywhere tonight, it's Minnesota. But most think he stays put.
Steve Bulpett: There's Jimmy Butler talk happening, but, according to multiple sources here, it doesn't include the Celtics. Hasn't for a while.
ESPN Cleveland: Windhorst: The Butler trade is virtually closed. That trade isn't feasible. #Cavs are still in for George but its very very unlikely.
Denver has spoken to the Bulls about Jimmy Butler, source told ESPN. Would include multiple young players, not Nikola Jokic, and picks.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Minnesota continues to show interest in landing Paul George or Jimmy Butler, league sources tell @The Vertical.
KC Johnson: Hearing from several people that Porzingis' availability is dropping Butler dialogue. At least for now, Porzingis taking precedence for tms.
Ian Begley: Opposing executives believe Minnesota is considering using its No. 7 pick as part of a package to try to re-engage the Chicago Bulls on a trade for Jimmy Butler, ESPN has learned. The Cavs had previously tried to trade for Butler but were unsuccessful. Sources told ESPN's Marc Stein that Butler earlier this week expressed a desire to remain in Chicago and lead the Bulls back to prominence. The Vertical reported earlier this week that Minnesota had preliminary talks with Chicago about Butler.
Shams Charania: For Jimmy Butler there hasn't been much. Chicago hasn't really been open and really looking to move, as Boston has tried over and over to engage in discussions.
Several league executives who spoke to the Tribune believe Tom Thibodeau's Timberwolves could engage the Bulls on Thursday, although that package likely would have to include young players because the seventh pick falls outside the top impact players.
That leaves the Celtics, Suns and Timberwolves as teams with top-seven picks and other assets in the form of either young players or future first-round picks to move the needle on the Butler talks. The Suns, who own the fourth pick, are trying to offload the two years and $29 million remaining on Eric Bledsoe's deal as part of any trade package, sources said.
According to a Cleveland source close to the situation, several of the Cavaliers who had been prodding Butler to push for a trade from the Bulls the last five days were now warning him to stay away from a suddenly volatile situation. With the ouster of Cavaliers general manager David Griffin on Monday, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love could be headed for an unforeseen early breakup.
Through back channels, Irving let it be known that he’d be interested in coming to Chicago. Clearly the asking price for Irving would be too rich for the Bulls, so a third team would have to be brought into the mix. “Jimmy wants to win, period,’’ a source said. “Whatever it takes to get that done.’’
Sources told ESPN on Tuesday that the Cavaliers have been notified that Butler hopes to stay with the Bulls and would be reluctant to commit his long-term future to Cleveland. Butler, sources said, remains intent on trying to lead the Bulls back to Eastern Conference prominence.
David Aldridge: Per source, Jimmy Butler has informed Cavs that he wants to stay in Chicago rather than be traded to Cleveland.
The Bulls routinely say they'll take phone calls from teams about Butler's availability around this time and at the trade deadline but this time around, multiple sources tell CSNChicago.com the Bulls are doing more than listening: they're shopping Butler to many teams. It appears the Bulls have made the decision to try to jumpstart their rebuilding process and see what the best offer is for Butler as opposed to just gauging his value.
Former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin left for his successors potential trades to bring either Chicago's Jimmy Butler or Indiana's Paul George to the team, sources told cleveland.com, and one or more deals Griffin constructed could happen without him. In either case, a third team would be involved and would take All-Star forward Kevin Love in exchange for the mix of picks and role players the Bulls and Pacers seek to rebuild in the event they choose to deal their franchise player.
Former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin left for his successors potential trades to bring either Chicago's Jimmy Butler or Indiana's Paul George to the team, sources told cleveland.com, and one or more deals Griffin constructed could happen without him.
In either case, a third team would be involved and would take All-Star forward Kevin Love in exchange for the mix of picks and role players the Bulls and Pacers seek to rebuild in the event they choose to deal their franchise player.
Among the options Griffin presented to owner Dan Gilbert and front office personnel still in Cleveland involved Phoenix, which owns the No. 4 pick in Thursday's draft.
According to multiple sources out of Cleveland, not only have Cavaliers players – including LeBron James and Kyrie Irving – been reaching out to Butler directly and through back channels over the last five days to gauge his interest, but liked what they heard back from the Bulls three-time All-Star. One of the sources indicated that Butler would even push his front office to get the deal done, which is a huge change of direction for Butler, who has told both general manager Gar Forman and VP of basketball operations John Paxson numerous times over the last year that he didn’t want to be traded.
At 6 p.m. ET on Monday, Griffin was on the phone assessing Jimmy Butler’s desire to play with LeBron James and the Cavs, according to two people with direct knowledge of the calls. They requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the conversations. By 7:30 p.m. ET, Griffin and the Cavs had parted ways.
Marc Stein: League sources say the Cavs, until this wild turn, spent much of the day trying to assemble a Jimmy Butler trade. Unclear what happens now.
It's believed that the Cavaliers, by offering All-Star forward Kevin Love, could recruit a third team that would supply the sort of young players and/or draft picks sure to be more appealing to Chicago than the limited trade assets on Cleveland's roster.
Sources say that the Bulls, as expected, are getting numerous trade calls on Butler and could be moved to try to schedule 11th-hour meetings this week with top-tier draft prospects such as Duke's Jayson Tatum and Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox if talks get serious.
Marc Stein: The Cavaliers, per league sources, have been working today on assembling multi-team trade scenarios to try to acquire Chicago's Jimmy Butler. K.C. Johnson: Suns would be possibility for 3rd team.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Chicago’s price for Jimmy Butler remains elevated, but Minnesota has assets and interest. Sides made preliminary contact this week. K.C. Johnson: Suns are another team to watch, per source.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Chicago’s price for Jimmy Butler remains elevated, but Minnesota has assets and interest. Sides made preliminary contact this week.
Surely, the Celtics must be coming for Butler next, right? As of Sunday, the talk is based more on speculation than reality, a stance that at least three league executives the Tribune spoke to over the weekend don't expect to change by Thursday. There is plenty of belief within the league and the Bulls organization that the Celtics are poised to use the No. 3 pick Thursday and then pursue Jazz All-Star Gordon Hayward in free agency come July.
Steve Kyler: While NBA Draft is fluid - no sense in NBA circles that Jimmy Butler likely to be traded around the draft - won't stop teams from asking
The more assets the Celtics have, the more assets the Bulls would ask for in a potential deal. But many around the Bulls don’t believe Ainge will even come calling before draft night, sources tell CSNChicago.com. The Celtics have enough to put a competitive team on the floor as is without having to add a player of Butler’s caliber.
Adam Zagoria: The Celtics could also be acquiring more first-round picks to deal for Jimmy Butler, per league source.
We got Wahlberg out in NYC and asked him about the Celtics' envious dilemma, whether to use the #1 pick in this year's draft on a college stud (probably Fultz) or trade for an elite NBA player. Mark -- a huge Celtics fan -- made his position clear, he wants to slang the pick, and wouldn't mind getting his good friend -- and Bulls star -- Jimmy Butler back in return.
Back in Chicago after spending much of the last month working out in Los Angeles, Jimmy Butler had what one source described as a "positive" season-ending exit meeting with management Monday.
Management has been consistent with its message to Butler, the subject of trade rumors both last June and this February. Executive vice president John Paxson has said the franchise greatly values their three-time All-Star, isn't looking to trade him but has to listen to any interest out of due diligence.
Butler has been consistent with his feelings as well — that he wants to not only remain with the Bulls but win with the Bulls and be a centerpiece of that effort.
Nick Friedell: Not much has really changed regarding Butler/Bulls though. Bulls still waiting to see what teams may or may not offer closer to Draft.
KC Johnson: Jimmy Butler indeed had his exit meeting today with Bulls management. Parties met briefly day after elimination, more substantively today.
Carlos Douglas Jr.: Told both Jimmy Butler & Management (Pax, Gar, etc) had honest talk about team direction, coach, roster, etc. Could be a fluid summer #Bulls
KC Johnson: Jimmy Butler on Bulls to Jimmy Kimmel: "They took a chance on me in 2011 with the 30th pick. I'm forever grateful for that. I love it there"
Carlos Douglas Jr.: Source close to Jimmy Butler: "JB privately believes he'll remain with the #Bulls, UNLESS a team offers a to good to pass up type of trade."
Carlos Douglas Jr.: Source close to @Jimmy Butler: "JB loves Chicago & would love to form a contender with #Bulls, but the direction is up to the front office."
Should the Heat be interested in acquiring Paul George from the Pacers? -- Daniel, Miami. A: I don't know if they "should be," but I know that they will consider every and any possibilities when it comes to elite-level players, be it George or Jimmy Butler, when those respective teams are eliminated from the playoffs. For as much as Pat Riley praised what the Heat have in place, the reality is that you win in the NBA with elite-level talent surrounded by the proper supporting pieces. But if a playoff team is to move on from such a talent, it likely will require a top-tier piece and a youth element in return. So if you're talking about George or Butler, you're probably also talking about Hassan Whiteside or Goran Dragic in return. When it comes to the youth element, the Heat do not have a first-round pick to offer in return, although there is the youth of Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson. So, to instead offer the simplest response: Yes, absolutely, should a player of that ilk come on the market.
Paul George and Jimmy Butler were involved in trade rumors at the deadline, and all indications are that those conversations will resume this offseason. One front-office source told me recently that Butler is “as good as gone,” while George sounds like a player who wants out.
KC Johnson: (Dwayne Wade's player option) decision is before July 1. We all know that, if the Bulls are gonna pull the trigger on Jimmy Butler, the trade is gonna happen the week of the draft, the week before his option decision is due. That will play a huge factor in what Dwyane decides to do.
When the Bulls hit the All-Star break as barely a playoff team with veteran leaders mouthing off in unsettling ways, Butler's name became one of the most prominently mentioned in trade talks around the NBA. However, a league source familiar with Chicago's strategy said the team was not initiating trade discussions about Butler but merely fielding calls. There was "absolutely nothing" the team even came close to considering, the person said.
Do you hope to finish your career with the Bulls? Jimmy Butler: Yes. I can't see what tomorrow will bring, but I love it here. You know, they took a risk on a kid that was not very good with the 30th pick in the 2011 draft, so I feel like I owe the city the little amount of talent that I have on that basketball court. I love it here. I love these people. I want to be here.
During a podcast appearance with ESPN's Zach Lowe, Griffin fielded a question regarding a report the Cavaliers were on pins and needles about whether the Celtics were going to acquire Butler from the Chicago Bulls. "I don't think it was just Jimmy," Griffin replied. "There was a moment there where I thought they were getting Paul George and Jimmy Butler, and that was concerning."
"That would be concerning," Griffin added. "I mean, we don't get to play anybody else's cards, right? So spending a lot of time worrying about it doesn't make sense. But certainly we were paying attention. Toronto obviously made some moves to get much better and our conference has been I think quietly getting better on a steady increase since we got there. So I think we were concerned with the whole conference."
Michael Pina: On The Lowe Post, Cavs GM David Griffin said there was a moment before the trade deadline when he thought Boston might land PG and Butler
"The Cavs were on pins and needles yesterday about the Celtics getting Paul George or Jimmy Butler," said Brian Windhorst on Zach Lowe's podcast," said Brian Windhorst on Zach Lowe's podcast.
"Pins and needles. That's why I'm saying. Let's put it this way: if on day one next year it's Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, and Isaiah Thomas, the Cavs will be like 'okay, that's going to be a challenge.' If it's Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford and Jimmy Butler, the Cavs might be out there saying 'we may have to trade Kevin Love.'"
Brian Robb: Interesting tidbits from latest Lowe Post: 1. @Brian Windhorst said Cavs were on 'pins and needles' during Butler/George-to-C's rumors Thu.
July 31, 2021 | 4:36 pm EDT Update
Shams Charania: The Detroit Pistons are waiving guard Cory Joseph and F/G Deividas Sirvydis, sources tell me and @James Edwards III.
Brandon Rahbar: Josh Giddey on his fit with SGA: “I love it. It takes the pressure off of me not having the ball in my hands all the time. He’s an All Star level talent.” (When I asked, I prefaced it by telling him I wouldn’t ask him any inappropriate questions.)
Brandon Rahbar: Sam Presti: “We’ve had a lot of players we’ve drafted over the course of time. There’s one common theme that has been transcendent… and I think this group embodies it. This is a very hard working group of guys. They’re the embodiment of the values of the people of Oklahoma.” pic.twitter.com/CECTUpA4uE